Abstract: Hackney, KJ, Scott, JM, Hanson, AM, English, KL, Downs, ME, and Ploutz-Snyder, LL. The astronaut-athlete: optimizing human performance in space. J Strength Cond Res 29(12): 3531–3545, 2015—It is well known that long-duration spaceflight results in deconditioning of neuromuscular and cardiovascular systems, leading to a decline in physical fitness. On reloading in gravitational environments, reduced fitness (e.g., aerobic capacity, muscular strength, and endurance) could impair human performance, mission success, and crew safety. The level of fitness necessary for the performance of routine and off-nominal terrestrial mission tasks remains an unanswered and pressing question for scientists and flight physicians. To mitigate fitness loss during spaceflight, resistance and aerobic exercise are the most effective countermeasure available to astronauts. Currently, 2.5 h·d−1, 6–7 d·wk−1 is allotted in crew schedules for exercise to be performed on highly specialized hardware on the International Space Station (ISS). Exercise hardware provides up to 273 kg of loading capability for resistance exercise, treadmill speeds between 0.44 and 5.5 m·s−1, and cycle workloads from 0 and 350 W. Compared to ISS missions, future missions beyond low earth orbit will likely be accomplished with less vehicle volume and power allocated for exercise hardware. Concomitant factors, such as diet and age, will also affect the physiologic responses to exercise training (e.g., anabolic resistance) in the space environment. Research into the potential optimization of exercise countermeasures through use of dietary supplementation, and pharmaceuticals may assist in reducing physiological deconditioning during long-duration spaceflight and have the potential to enhance performance of occupationally related astronaut tasks (e.g., extravehicular activity, habitat construction, equipment repairs, planetary exploration, and emergency response).
Research Containing: Microgravity
DECLIC is a multi-user facility to investigate critical fluids behaviour and directional solidification of transparent alloys, developed in the frame of a joint NASA/CNES research program. The instrument is a miniaturized thermo optical laboratory in which one can plug inserts containing the materials to be studied.
The Importance of Caveolin-1 as Key-Regulator of Three-Dimensional Growth in Thyroid Cancer Cells Cultured under Real and Simulated Microgravity Conditions
We recently demonstrated that the CAV1 gene was down-regulated, when poorly differentiated thyroid FTC-133 cancer cells formed spheroids under simulated microgravity conditions. Here, we present evidence that the caveolin-1 protein is involved in the inhibition of spheroid formation, when confluent monolayers are exposed to microgravity. The evidence is based on proteins detected in cells and their supernatants of the recent spaceflight experiment: "NanoRacks-CellBox-Thyroid Cancer". The culture supernatant had been collected in a special container adjacent to the flight hardware incubation chamber and stored at low temperature until it was analyzed by Multi-Analyte Profiling (MAP) technology, while the cells remaining in the incubation chamber were fixed by RNAlater and examined by mass spectrometry. The soluble proteins identified by MAP were investigated in regard to their mutual interactions and their influence on proteins, which were associated with the cells secreting the soluble proteins and had been identified in a preceding study. A Pathway Studio v.11 analysis of the soluble and cell-associated proteins together with protein kinase C alpha (PRKCA) suggests that caveolin-1 is involved, when plasminogen enriched in the extracellular space is not activated and the vascular cellular adhesion molecule (VCAM-1) mediated cell-cell adhesion is simultaneously strengthened and activated PRKCA is recruited in caveolae, while the thyroid cancer cells do not form spheroids.
Recent space flight experiments have provided many new insights into the role of gravity in plant growth and development. Scientists have been taking seeds and plants into space for decades in an effort to understand how the stressful environment of space affects them. The resultant data have yielded significant advances in the development of advanced life-support systems for long-duration space flight and a better understanding of the fundamental role of gravity in directing the growth and development of plants. Experiments have improved as new spaceflight hardware and technology paved the way for progressively more insightful and rigorous plant research in space. The International Space Station (ISS) provided an opportunity for scientists to both monitor and control their experiments in real-time. Experiments on the ISS have provided valuable insights into endogenous growth responses, light-responses, and transcriptomic and proteomic changes that occur in the microgravity environment. In recent years most studies of plants in space have used Arabidopsis thaliana, but the single-celled, Ceratopteris richardii spore is also a valuable model system that has been used to understand plant gravity response. Experiments using these fern spores have revealed a dynamic and gravity-responsive trans-cell Ca2+ current that directs polarization of these spores, and a possible role of extracellular nucleotides in establishing or contributing to this current. As technology continues to improve, space flight experiments will provide many new insights into the role and effects of gravity on plant growth and development.
A series of fluid physics microgravity experiments with an enough long run time were performed in the ‘‘KIBO,’’ the Japanese Experiment Module aboard the International Space Station, to examine the transition to chaos of the thermocapillary convection in a half zone liquid bridge of silicone oil with a Prandtl number of 112. The temperature difference between the coaxial disks induced the thermocapillary-driven flow, and we experimentally demonstrated that the flow fields underwent a tran- sition from steady flow to oscillatory flow, and finally to chaotic flow with increasing temperature differ- ence. We obtained the surface temperature time series at the middle of the liquid bridge to quantitatively evaluate the transition process of the flow fields. By Fourier analysis, we further confirmed that the flow fields changed from a periodic, to a quasi-periodic, and finally to a chaotic state. The increasing nonlin- earity with the development of the flow fields was confirmed by time-series chaos analysis. The deter- mined Lyapunov exponent and the translation error indicated that the flow fields made transition to the chaotic field with the increasing temperature difference.
Secretory proteins produced by salivary glands are stored in granules and released into saliva. Rodent salivary glands are a reliable experimental model because they are morphologically and functionally similar to those of humans. To determine if the effects of microgravity on secretory proteins are increased on extended flights, their expression in mouse parotid glands, morphological, immuno- cytochemical, and biochemical/molecular methods were employed. Acinar cells of STS-135 (13 day) and Bion-M1 (30 day) flight animals showed an increase of autophagy and apoptosis, while duct cells contained vacuoles with endocytosed proteins. In STS-135, decreases were seen in the regulatory subunit of type II protein kinase A (RII) by Western blotting, and demilune cell and parotid protein (DCPP) and α- amylase (p<0.01) by immunogold labeling, while proline-rich proteins (PRPs, p<0.001) and parotid secretory protein (PSP, p<0.05) were increased. These results suggest microgravity effects on secretion are function-dependent. Microarray analyses showed significant changes in the expression of a number of genes, including components of the cyclic-3',5',-adenosine monophosphate (cyclic AMP) signaling pathway. Compared to habitat ground controls, mice from both flights exhibited altered expression of cyclic AMP-specific phosphodiesterases, adenylate cyclase isoforms, and several A-kinase anchoring proteins. Bion-M1 flight mice showed increases in gene expression for lysozyme and amylase, a decrease in PRPs, and RII expression was unchanged from control values. Secretory protein expression is altered by travel in space, representing a reversible adjustment to microgravity conditions. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a test kit using saliva — an easily obtained body fluid — to assess the physiologic effects of travel in space.
Contribution to the benchmark for ternary mixtures: Measurement of the Soret, diffusion and thermodiffusion coefficients in the ternary mixture THN/IBB/nC12 with 0.8/0.1/0.1 mass fractions in ground and orbital laboratories
We have determined the Soret (ST), diffusion (D, and thermodiffusion (DT) coefficients in a ternary mixture of tetralin-isobutylbenzene-n-dodecane with a composition of 0.80/0.10/0.10 by mass fraction at a temperature of 298K. The Soret coefficients were measured in the microgravity experiment DCMIX1 and on the ground by optical digital interferometry (ODI) using two lasers with different wavelengths. The values of the Soret coefficients were determined from the stationary separation of the components using two- and six-parameter fits. The diffusion coefficients were independently measured using the Taylor Dispersion Technique in the ground laboratory, and the thermodiffusion coefficients were derived from known ST and matrix D. The processing of the data from the DCMIX experiment conducted on the International Space Station is discussed in detail. The multi-user design of the on-board instrument causes perturbations in the component separation. Several recommendations are suggested for improving the quality of the microgravity results. For example, we demonstrated that the tomography reconstruction of the 3-D concentration field allows to restore the underestimated component separation resulting from the spatial non-linearity of the temperature field. Furthermore, to avoid errors in component separation due to mass exchange between the working liquid volume and the expansion volume at the top of the cell, we suggest considering the evolution of the separation only in the lower half of the cell. The results of this study displayed reasonable quantitative agreement between the microgravity and ground experiments.
Temperature dependence of Soret and diffusion coefficients for toluene-cyclohexane mixture measured in convection-free environment
We report on the measurement of diffusion (D), Soret (S(T)), and thermodiffusion (D(T)) coefficients in toluene-cyclohexane mixture with mass fraction of toluene 0.40 onboard of the International Space Station. The coefficients were measured in the range of the mean temperatures between 20 degrees C and 34 degrees C. The Soret coefficient is negative within the investigated temperature range and its absolute value |S(T)| decreases with increasing temperature. The diffusion coefficient for this system increases with temperature rising. For comparison, the temperature dependence of diffusion coefficient was measured in ground laboratory using counter-flow cell technique and revealed a good agreement with microgravity results. A non-direct comparison of the measured onboard Soret coefficients with different systems indicated a similar trend for the temperature dependent behavior. Unexpected experimental finding is that for this system the thermodiffusion coefficient D(T) does not depend on temperature.
Complex (Dusty) Plasma Research under Microgravity Conditions: PK-3 Plus Laboratory on the International Space Station
Complex (dusty) plasma research under microgravity conditions complements the research in the laboratory. Due to reduction of the main force on microparticles in the lab — gravity — it is possible to form complex plasmas in the bulk region of plasmas in homogeneous large 3D systems and to investigate other phenomena than those accessible on Earth in detail. Therefore, PK-3 Plus was operated as a long-term microgravity facility from 2006 to 2013 on the International Space Station ISS. It was perfectly suited for the formation of large stable liquid and crystalline systems and provided interesting insights into processes like crystallisation and melting, laning and phase separation in binary mixtures, electrorheological effects due to ac electric fields and projectile interaction with a strongly coupled complex plasma cloud.
Evaluation of rodent spaceflight in the NASA animal enclosure module for an extended operational period (up to 35 days)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Animal Enclosure Module (AEM) was developed as a self-contained rodent habitat for shuttle flight missions that provides inhabitants with living space, food, water, ventilation, and lighting, and this study reports whether, after minimal hardware modification, the AEM could support an extended term up to 35 days for Sprague-Dawley rats and C57BL/6 female mice for use on the International Space Station. Success was evaluated based on comparison of AEM housed animals to that of vivarium housed and to normal biological ranges through various measures of animal health and well-being, including animal health evaluations, animal growth and body masses, organ masses, rodent food bar consumption, water consumption, and analysis of blood contents. The results of this study confirmed that the AEMs could support 12 adult female C57BL/6 mice for up to 35 days with self-contained RFB and water, and the AEMs could also support 5 adult male Sprague-Dawley rats for 35 days with external replenishment of diet and water. This study has demonstrated the capability and flexibility of the AEM to operate for up to 35 days with minor hardware modification. Therefore, with modifications, it is possible to utilize this hardware on the International Space Station or other operational platforms to extend the space life science research use;of mice and rats.